The world-experience-tree-climber, part 4
You are music itself!This morning, while walking around London, I went into an Indian store that sold magazines and candy. Magazines I didn’t get, but I did buy a chocolate bar — I think it is called ‘Tiger’ — for 19 pence.
As soon as I came out of the store, a tall man said to me, “Good morning! Last night I was at your concert and I heard your music. I also am a musician. I play music, but you are music itself!”
Since he was flattering me, I gave him a piece of the chocolate bar. He took it with such joy and appreciation.
— 10 October 1984
Please bless me!After the London Peace Concert, a certain spiritual teacher came up to me backstage. He was bowing down and saying, “Please bless me, please bless me!”
Was I going to place my hand on his head? No! I only bless my own disciples. But I gave him a flower. This particular teacher used to be a doctor before he became a spiritual Master. Now he has quite a few disciples. He has asked his disciples always to participate in our activities because he has such love and admiration for me. His disciples keep my picture on their shrine, along with the pictures of other spiritual Masters.
Last week his disciples in San Francisco invited our disciples to come and play my music for them in their Centre.
— 9 November 1984
You carry two worldsAfter the Toronto Concert, I met with one of the officials from the Consulate of India. Many years ago I worked with him in the Consulate in New York.
He said to me, “Your very name is a phenomenon. You carry two worlds inside you — Eastern and Western. It is such a rare thing. Your music has transported my wife and me almost into a trance. Please let us know when you are coming again so we can be with you and be blessed by you.”
I thanked him and said, “I am so grateful to you. Your very presence is a blessing to me and to us all.”
— 10 November 1984
Part-time invalidThe morning after the San Francisco Peace Concert, I went to visit Narada’s studio.
While I was waiting for the elevator to come, a very fat man came up and shook hands with me for no reason. Then he said, “You are the most handsome musician I've ever seen. Now tell me something. One moment you walk across the stage like an invalid. But the next moment you play the cello so powerfully and dramatically. Your playing is full of life. And then, when you walk back to play another instrument, you are an invalid again. How do you switch back and forth like that?”
At that time the elevator came and we went inside. Both of us were smiling at each other in the elevator as it went up.
— 18 November 1984
The saviourWhen I went to the Spanish Consulate to get my visa, the clerk was very unkind. For a long time she was avoiding and ignoring everyone. Then a little girl came to our rescue; she came as our saviour.
She was only two or three years old, and she was smiling and laughing and making lots of noise. She was very cute, and she made everybody smile. Even the undivine clerk started smiling, and then everything changed for the better; she started to do her job properly. Soon we got everything we needed. Otherwise how many hours we would have stayed there!
So that little girl changed our fate. God sent her to help us and save us.
— 11 December 1984
Visa problems in FranceThe first time I went to France, Air France told me I didn’t need a visa. But when I arrived at the airport in France, the authorities wouldn’t allow me to enter the country. For at least 45 minutes they delayed me!
I had to call the Indian Embassy in Washington. The Ambassador happened to be Bengali. We spoke in Bengali over the phone, and then he spoke to the authorities at the airport.
The people at the airport were so impressed that I was speaking to the Ambassador himself in Bengali. All of a sudden they became very affectionate. They began finding fault with my tie, saying I didn’t know how to put it on properly. Then they fixed it for me.
So first they were harassing me, and then they were fixing my tie!
— 11 December 1984
New thoughts in an old buildingWhen we were going to meet the Mayor of Madrid, I took with me only the singers. Then we found out that they were expecting 200 people!
When the Mayor was escorting me to the reception after the meeting, he was saying that although the building was old, he has new, modern thoughts there. The building was built in the 16th century.
— 21 December 1984
Hanging up on the MasterI have an amusing, inspiring and illumining story about Ketan the great.
Last night he phoned our Madrid hotel from America. The switchboard connected him with my room. When I said, “Hello,” Ketan said, “Oh no! Oh no! Oh no! I wanted to speak to Bipin.”
I said, “Give me some news.”
He said, “Oh no, they have made the wrong connection!”
I said again, “Give me some news. What is happening in New York?”
But Ketan just hung up. I was begging him to give me some news, but he got upset and frightened and just hung up.
— 22 December 1984
How is it possible?Then an Indian phoned me at the hotel. I had spoken with an Indian girl on the plane, and now her father wanted to come to our concert. When he phoned up to find out when and where the concert was, they gave him my number.
I said, “I do not know any of the details.”
He could not figure out how it was possible for me not to know the name of the place and the hour of the concert, since I was the one performing.
— 22 December 1984
When greedy meets cheapWhen Agraha and I were shopping in Madrid, we saw a Chinese instrument with two strings. The sound was good, but the price was not good.
They said, “12,030,” or something like that. So I wanted to say, “10,000.”
But Agraha, the great Spanish scholar, told them 9,000.
“Agraha!” I said.
They said, “Impossible!”
I asked Agraha why he didn’t say 10,000. He said, “Since you like bargaining, I said 9,000 so you can go up.” Then he offered 10,000, but the man still said, “Impossible.”
Agraha said, “11,000,” but the man would not come down. They were greedy and they thought that we might again go up.
They were greedy and we were cheap, so we didn’t buy it.
— 22 December 1984
Andre starts chantingAfter Andre’s accident, I went to see him in the Spanish hospital. He was unconscious, but I said, “Now your Guru is singing the Supreme,” and I started singing.
Then he started chanting “pranam.” As soon as he started chanting, the two nurses who were there jumped up from their chairs to see. Before this, the nurses had been calling him, but he hadn’t responded.
Andre went on chanting so loudly that the nurses were pushing each other’s shoulders out of excitement. He was so happy, and four or five times he smiled.
— 27 December 1984
Signing the guest bookWhen I first arrived at the Tafoukt Hotel in Essouira, Morocco, they wanted me to sign the guest book, but there were only a few pages left at the back. So they went out and brought a new book and asked me to be the first one to sign the new book.
— 3 January 1985
Wrong numberOne morning at the Tafoukt Hotel, at six o’clock the phone rang in my room. A man said, “You wanted me to call to wake you up.”
I said, “This is room 517.”
He said, “Oh no, I wanted 217.”
Room 217 asked the desk to wake them up at six o’clock, but they called me by mistake.
— 3 January 1985
The Guru of the groupI wanted to telephone New York from my hotel room in Morocco. The telephone operator said to me, “What is your name?”
I said, “Ghose.”
Then she asked, “What is your room number?”
I told her. Then the lady said, “The person in that room is not Ghose. It is Chinmoy.”
I said, “Yes, that is my first name.”
She said, “Are you the Guru of the group?”
I said, “Yes, I am the Guru of the group.”
Then she was satisfied and she placed the call for me.
— 8 January 1985
A highly evolved soulOnce when we went to a circus in Venezuela, I saw that one of the young girl performers was an extremely evolved soul. I felt miserable that Saraswati was not there, because I wanted somebody to approach her. Later, I told Saraswati to go and give her gifts.
That girl was one of the two hundred most evolved female souls living on earth at this time. Such an evolved, receptive soul in the silliest possible circus!
Our circus is far better; only we don’t have animals. But we don’t need animals because we represent animals.
— 13 January 1985
The power of a smileThe first day I went to the eating place at the university in Puerto la Cruz, I saw a group of cute little boys watching me from about fifteen metres away. They were afraid to come closer. Then they all gave me very soulful smiles and took one step nearer, but immediately they got frightened again.
So I gave them a smile. Then they took another step towards me. Like that, we kept smiling at one another and they kept coming forward until they were only one metre away.
— 13 January 1985
The earphonesI have been on airplanes many, many times, but only two or three times have I watched the movie. On a flight from Florida to New York, I was sitting in my seat drawing when they announced that it was time for the movie.
They were going to show George Burns in Oh God. I hadn’t liked the movie when we showed it at the Centre, but I said, “To kill time, let me see it.”
So I paid two dollars for the earphones and turned the switch to channel 9. With my right hand I was holding the earphones to my ear, and with my left hand I was trying to draw. Of course, I couldn’t draw very well with my left hand, since I am right-handed.
The stewardess saw me and said, “Why are you not using the headphones?”
So she showed me how to put the headphones on my head. Then she asked, “Where do you come from? India?”
I said, “Yes.”
She said, “Oh, that’s why!”
I said, “I have been here in the States for 20 years.” I didn’t have the heart to tell her how many times I have been on airplanes. But if you don’t use things, you don’t know the proper way.
— 19 February 1985
The jealous husbandSitting in front of me on the plane was an elderly couple; they were both over 60.
Before the plane took off, another old man came up to the lady and said, “Hi!” She also said something to him.
Then the man said to the husband, “Harold, how are you?” But the husband didn’t answer.
When the man went away, the husband got so mad! For ten minutes or more he was insulting and scolding his wife.
When the plane landed, the other old man again had to come very close to the lady, and the lady again said something to him.
Her husband was holding two small bags. He got so furious that he just dropped them on the seat.
I was dying to get off the plane before he struck his wife. I saw his anger and wanted to disappear immediately.
— 19 February 1985
Entering East BerlinToday Kailash and I went to East Berlin. At the place where you cross over, every 10 metres they ask to see your passport. Within 50 metres, at four different places you have to show your passport! Can you imagine!
I have to change Kailash’s name to patience. He was so patient with those people. If I had known German, I would not have waited there. After being stopped the second time, I would have just gone back.
In some cases they opened the car trunks and lifted up the seats to see if you had brought something illegal. They are very, very strict.
Germans have to enter through one place and Swiss through another place. Indians go the same way as the Swiss, so Kailash and I went together.
— 22 March 1985
A peculiar rhythmAt the concert last night the audience applauded after I played the synthesiser. Strangely enough, what I played was absolutely original.
Sometimes a very peculiar rhythm comes, and for a few seconds that peculiarity remains. It gives me so much joy. At that time I don’t have to worry about the melody at all!
— 23 March 1985
A small worldThis world is so small. In 1966 a German lady became my disciple in Puerto Rico. She lived right across the street from our first Centre there. From my apartment I could see where she lived. In my book Yoga and the Spiritual Life, there are quite a few questions on the soul that were asked by her. She also translated our Invocation into German. I gave her the Indian name `Abhaya’, which means fearless, dauntless.
One day Nadeshwar, our supreme boxing champion, was saying unkind things about the strength of women. Abhaya could not tolerate it, so she challenged him to a boxing match. She didn’t know anything about boxing, but she was very mad.
Nadeshwar said, “Oh no, I can’t fight with women.”
After that, Nadeshwar kept quiet.
Abhaya moved to Miami a few years later and left us.
At the end of tonight’s concert, who should come up to me but Abhaya! I didn’t recognise her until she told me her name. She was quite devoted.
— 24 March 1985
The fake BengaliDuring the walk-past, one man asked me in Bengali if I can speak Bengali. So Projjwal thanked him and he went away.
If he had been a real Bengali, he would know that I am Bengali from the way I pronounce English. Also, I was singing in Bengali during the concert.
At the Ashram we had some Gujarati boys and girls who spoke Bengali with perfect intonation and pronunciation. They spoke so fast that they could easily fool Bengalis.
But we Bengalis had such pride. We never learned Gujarati correctly. We knew quite a few words, so we would use Gujarati nouns and then complete the sentence with Hindi verbs. Our Gujarati friends could speak Bengali, but we thought it was beneath our dignity to learn Gujarati!
— 23 March 1985
The taxi driverOnce, when I was in Holland, I had a taxi driver who was not only from Queens, but from Jamaica. He was giving me such a vivid description of Jamaica because he used to live here!
A new incarnationThis is a cock-and-bull story. When I was a child in Chittagong, my family usually had two servants — one young and one old.
After tonight’s concert, one boy came up to meditate with me after the concert. While we were meditating together, his soul said, “Madalia, you cannot recognise me?”
Not only did he use the nickname from my childhood, Madal, but he said it with an endearing term. I said, “Who can call me by my Chittagong name with this kind of endearing term? In my house, even my sisters and brothers didn’t call me that, and here this young German boy is addressing me this way!”
Then the soul said that he had been our servant in Chittagong and he gave his former name. Then vividly I could see and remember him. I had heard that he had died, and now I see that he has taken a new incarnation in Germany. I was looking into his eyes and his soul recognised me.
— 24 March 1985
A lady from the AshramThere was another lady who came to see me after the concert. When I was in the Ashram, I was close to her brothers and her sister. But she was only four or five years old at that time, and during my 20 years at the Ashram I never had any occasion to speak to her.
Her sister had been the Ashram athletics champion. She had even learned how to box. She used to study with me. One of her brothers had been a wrestler. Once he injured his neck while wrestling and for three weeks was in the hospital. Her youngest brother once climbed up a tall coconut tree when he was three or four years old. Then he got frightened and couldn’t climb down. He was crying and screaming because he was afraid.
The lady’s name is Purnima. She started talking to me in Bengali. Then she introduced her husband to me. But she had forgotten the Bengali word for husband, so she said it in Hindi and added, “I have forgotten the word.”
Then I was able to tell her the word in Bengali.
— 24 March 1985
Comment from a childhood friendIn the comments book for the Hamburg concert, someone wrote a comment in Bengali. His name is Himangshu Shekar Vadra. He called me ‘Chinmoy-da’ and said he was overwhelmed and deeply moved by the concert.
He and I knew each other so well. My brothers and sisters also knew him. We were brought up together; right from childhood we knew one another.
His brother used to run with me; he was our third best runner.
— 24 March 1985
Sudhahota's long jumpAt the San Francisco airport, I asked disciples with birthdays in July and August to come up and meditate with me.
Sudhahota jumped over the shoulders of five or six girls so that he could come up. He did his long jump to come and meditate with me!
— 8 July 1985
Airplane problemsThe airline this time was so bad. In the San Francisco airport they kept us waiting in the plane for an hour and a half. Then they said that something was wrong with a battery and told us we had to leave the plane.
After an hour and a half, they decided to give us another plane. Then they said, “All right, we have fixed the battery. In ten minutes we shall start.”
But after ten minutes they said that now one engine was not working. So we had to go out again.
We were practically three hours late in leaving.
— 8 July 1985
Getting out on the wrong floorI was on my way to our hotel lobby for the Montreal Peace Concert. I got into the elevator on the twelfth floor and went down.
Kirit and Surashri had pressed the button for the elevator on the tenth floor. When the door opened, I saw them standing there. I thought that was the lobby so I went out of the elevator. They didn’t say anything to me because they didn’t know what I was doing.
— 14 September 1985
The suspicious customs officerWhile travelling from Canada to New York, our bus stopped at the Canadian border. As I was coming out of the washroom, two customs officers came up to me very suspiciously. One said, “What are you doing?”
Just a few minutes before that they had caught a man trying to smuggle a lady in under his car seat. So now they thought they were catching me.
But the other officer said, “He was on the bus.”
At that hour of the night they hadn’t expected so many people. Our crowded bus was disturbing their sleep.
— 15 September 1985
The fastest trainLast year when I was in Australia, I rode on a train that went only seven or ten miles per hour. Yesterday, while travelling between Paris and Lyon, I rode on the world’s fastest train. It goes 180 miles per hour!
When you are in the passenger compartment you feel that the train is going only 40 or 50 miles an hour. But if you are up front with the engineer, you can see how fast it is going.
For more than an hour I was with the engineer. I was sitting in the same seat that the French President sat in four years ago when he inaugurated the train. It is right alongside the engineer.
So now I have gone from the slowest to the fastest. This train broke the world record and defeated the Japanese bullet train. The French say they are going to stay ahead of the Japanese. They are working very hard to maintain their supremacy.
When I was young I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps and be a train conductor. That was my earliest desire. But instead, God has given me a far more difficult job.
— 21 October 1985
The tea ceremonyIn Tokyo we went to see a tea ceremony. When I came in, the hostess bowed to me three times. But I didn’t dare bend so many times, so I bowed only once!
— 15 December 1985
Bowing and bowingIn Japan they bow even when they open the elevator door for you. Yesterday after the Peace Concert, I bowed at least 200 times during the walk-past for seekers.
As each person passed in front of me, he would bow. So I also bowed. Then I would have to bow a second time to show that the meditation for that particular individual was over.
For me to bow so many times and then look up is very difficult for my neck. So yesterday I had very good neck exercises!
I thought that they would keep their hands at their sides, according to the Japanese tradition, but most of them walked by with folded hands.
— 15 December 1985
Lovers of JapanThere are very few disciples of mine who do not like Japan. The Japanese love the beauty of the East in their inner life and they love the power of the West in their outer life.
When I come to Japan, at every moment I am inspired to compose songs. Yesterday I composed a song about Japan in the sports store. Today I composed a song on the bus. The last time I visited the Kamakura Buddha, I composed “Namo namo” in front of the statue. The first time we visited it, I composed “Jaya jaya.”
— 17 December 1985
None left!When Alo and I went walking in Beppu this morning, we went to a 24-hour eating place. They have pictures of all the different dishes, so you can just point to the picture of what you want to eat. But whatever you point to, that very thing they don’t have!
— 22 December 1985
The fever-treeThis morning I woke up with a 105-degree fever. With greatest difficulty I opened my eyes, but then I couldn’t see anything.
So instead of running the race we were holding, I walked to the 24-hour eating place and ate coffee and eggs.
Then Vijali came in and I had a long talk with her about Trinidad and Tobago and other countries.
While walking back to the hotel, again everything seemed to be turning white. My fever and back pain were killing me, and I couldn’t see anything!
It is very difficult to climb up the aspiration-tree, but the fever-tree one can climb up very easily. The aspiration-flame-tree is difficult to climb up, but the temperature-fire-tree is easy.
— 24 December 1985
The lost glovesThis morning I went into a restaurant in Kyoto. After I went out and had gone two blocks, I realised that I had left my gloves there. But I said, “I am not going to go back.”
Then I saw Kodanda running. I wanted to give him the job of going to the restaurant to get my gloves, although I was a little bit afraid that he would go to the wrong restaurant and fight with the people there. But to my great surprise and joy, he went running to the right restaurant and brought back my gloves. He received my most powerful and blessingful smile.
— 7 January 1986
The Supreme's Light manifestedThis time Japan has responded most powerfully to the Supreme’s Light. Throughout the length and breadth of Japan the Light of the Supreme has been really manifested. There have been over 40 articles about our activities in Japanese and English newspapers.
Kirit’s soul has proved that it can be of true service to the manifestation of the Supreme. I am very, very proud of Kirit and very proud of Japan.
Kirit represents his country. He represents the life of humility. If you run up the steps two at a time, you might fall and break your leg. But if you go very humbly step by step, there is no chance for you to break your leg.
— 13 January 1986
A few mistakesThe Japan Times had a very nice article about me, but it had a few mistakes. They showed a picture of me playing the cello, but they said I was playing the viola. They also said that I came to the West at the age of 13. When the facts are wrong but the writer means well, their loving concern touches my heart.
— 13 January 1986
Vajra is the answer!When Vajra went to Yannick Noah’s restaurant in New York, Noah’s wife came and greeted him with folded hands, saying, “Sri Chinmoy is here.” She thought it was me, and she was showing him utmost respect and veneration.
A similar thing has happened many times during our parades. I am on the sidewalk running alongside the marchers, and Vajra is marching in the parade. So they think he is the Guru, the chief.
Yesterday, Sri Chinmoy himself paid a visit to Noah’s restaurant. But since Noah’s wife didn’t feel the same kind of divinity in me, the treatment could not be the same.
So if you want to see my divinity more revealed and manifested, then Vajra is the answer!
— 20 January 1986